That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America

Bloomsbury. Aug. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781639733538. $29.99. MEMOIR
Far-right parental-rights groups and lawmakers in the United States have increasingly targeted educators as purveyors of information that is allegedly harmful to children, particularly materials about Black history and LGBTQIA+ people. Librarians have been caught in the middle of the battle. In her memoir, award-winning school librarian Jones (who grew up in a conservative, religious family in a small Louisiana town and has dedicated her life to serving her community, first as a middle school teacher and then as a school librarian) delves into how she was subjected to a hate campaign after speaking out against censorship attempts at her local public library. As a result, she was maligned on social media and called a “groomer” and “pedophile,” and she even received death threats. She shares how her mental and physical health deteriorated as a result of these attacks, as well as the stress of pursuing (and losing) a defamation case against the individuals whom she accused of bullying her online.
VERDICT Jones’s deeply personal account of her battle to regain her reputation and combat intolerance in libraries is essential reading and ultimately a clarion call for others to help defend intellectual freedom and democracy.
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